Youtube introduces Interactive Cards

Youtube has introduced interactive cards as a replacement for annotations on videos. There’s a new Cards tab available in the Youtube Video Editor to allow you to choose from 6 types; Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website and Fan Funding.


Youtube Interactive Cards

They’ll work across mobile and desktop and eventually annotations will be phased out to make way for the new interactive cards. Each type of card has specific settings – for instance Merchandise cards allow you to add an image, merchandise url and a call to action, while fan funding cards allow for donations to creators within the video itself.

They display as a small pop-up, and the teaser can then be clicked for more information. In addition there is an information button that shows throughout the video to see all cards at once. And the new interactive cards will also work in livestreams as well as pre-recorded video.

At the moment you can’t choose size, or position them anywhere other than on the right edge. You can have a maximum of 5 cards per video, and the colours are fixed. Plus their location will change depending on the device being used to view them – so it’s not a good idea to point to them when you’re on camera.


How to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube Channel

The continued integration of various Google services with Google+ has generally been a positive move for both Google and businesses who can now access pages, page insights, analytics etc all in one place. But it does create an issue if you have existing Google+ pages and Youtube channels assigned to different registration emails, or if you accidentally create duplicates.

Fortunately, the process to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube channel isn’t as difficult as it once was.



We’ve merged G+ and Youtube profiles for our own sites and clients

Disconnecting a Google+ page and merging an existing page with Youtube:

The first step is to make a note of the email address and Google account which your Youtube channel is setup up with.

1. Make sure that the existing Youtube account is added as a Manager to your Google+ page (Which is done under the Managers section of your Page Settings)

2. If a duplicate or alternate page has been created by mistake via Youtube, you’ll need to disconnect that Google+ presence by clicking on Disconnect in Youtube Settings, in the Name section.

3. Google will take around 20 minutes to proceed through the disconnection process. It’s a good time to get a drink and relax!

4. Now go back into Youtube Settings, and click on Advanced. You should then have the option to link the Youtube account to a Google+ Page. Click on that link and you should be able to select the correct page.

5. Once that’s done, you should be able to click on Edit to be sent to the Page where you can click on Posts etc to check it’s the correct one.

6. Once that’s all done, you can then go into Google+ with your original Youtube account and remove the Page created in error.

You’ll now have the benefits of a linked account, including access to a Youtube tab on your page, Hangouts etc. If you get stuck, there is a Google+ community dedicated to Youtube integration.

Judging new media by old media metrics

Apparently Youtube has announced it will renew around 40% of the original content channels it funded last year (paying channels up to $5 million). As reported by AllThingsD, the channels not receiving new funding won’t be kicked off Youtube – and why would they with infinite space, and the deal requiring them to pay back the investment via advertising revenue if it hasn’t already been recouped?

What sparked my interest was the comparison to traditional TV only picking up the hits at the end of a season, and the fact that the first two comments on the article both said the experiment was a ‘failure’ in traditional TV terms and because 60% won’t be continued.

I’d completely disagree, and it’s symptomatic of the ease with which we default to existing yardsticks.


The long tail strikes again:

Presumably Google has already made back the initial investment on the 40% for renewal, or is close.

For the remaining 60%, Google will make back it’s investment eventually – those channels will remain contributing in perpetuity until they break even.

Tail of a tail

And the creators that aren’t having renewed deals do have an incentive to keep going – the investment and news will have certainly allowed them to raise their profiles and traffic beyond what they previously had. It certainly should have done with millions of dollars being handed out. Once their investment is re-payed they get the benefits of their increased traffic and funding to go forwards with.

I’m not a Google fan boy by any stretch of the imagination, but having followed the online video industry closely for many years, things have changed with the lowering costs of bandwith and storage, and that means better opportunities for all involved to operate with a lower risk. The cost of a prime time TV network show would be far more than a Youtube channel, and if it failed, there’s no coming back – compared to any of the ‘failed’ channels which could still break out with their next video or series.

Why it doesn’t matter if not all user-created content is great…

Youtube users are currently uploading an hour of content every second, or 60 hours every minute.

Assuming 0.25% of all content being uploaded is great content, that’s 3.6 hours of amazing videos every day. That’s 25.2 hours of great content per week, with the average TV viewing in a UK household somewhere between 20 and 30 hours per week.

Pretty amazing, and also why the follow-up attempts to enact laws such as SOPA and PIPA will occur with regularity in the U.S, and the influence of the U.S will be increasingly felt on every country around the world which might be encouraged or persuaded to enact such laws.

It isn’t about piracy. It’s about copying, creating and the disruptive effects we have all had

The noble purpose of skateboarding dogs

Something I inherently felt about the rise and success of Youtube and On Demand video and TV seemed to click when I happened to be re-reading  59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman. Besides being packed full of quick and useful ways to make practical improvements to your life, it also has a lot of references to relevant studies. And one referred to the role of pets, particularly dogs, in lowering stress and blood pressure.

In addition to real pets, Wiseman also mentions studies which used the Sony Aibo (Now discontinued but available via Ebay), and videos of dogs playing, and all had a similar effect at different levels.

And that’s something which people might have missed when they often dismiss a lot of Youtube or online video content as ‘dogs on skateboards’. Broadcast news has long ended bulletins, particularly on slow news days, with the ‘cat stuck up tree’ or similar heartwarming tale of human or animal misfortune. But if you’re in need of cheering up, being able to find endless videos of cute pets is guaranteed online. Including Tillman, who ended up advertising the iPhone:

But besides helping us to feel better and less stressed, there’s also an interesting flipside, which is that most of the media are in an endless race of shock and awe to try and compete with the real-time internet in new and exciting ways. The coverage of the recent London riots, and the events currently unfolding in Libya as I type, are both constantly providing examples of traditional and new media organisations and reporters trying to utilise, and compete with, the internet at the same time, leading to a strange dichotomy.

Even as seemingly clueless presenters commentated on the evils of social networking during the London Riots, the BBC and other media organisations were repeating content from, and sharing content to, Twitter, for example.

And at the same time, there’s a filtering and curation element of popular entertainment, away from the ever-increasing Fox-style shouting controversy that seems to permeate modern TV news reporting, in that I have never had access to so many broadcast channels and yet struggled to find anything which doesn’t irritate me at the very least. The reasons are many, included my awareness of all the alternatives, the possible effects of lowering resources and funding but trying to fill more hours, and the fact that so much content is being endlessly repeated across channels.

But I can get away from all this with my personal selection of things I enjoy watching, and that might help me relax as much as a skateboarding dog, or might be useful, inspiring, or god forbid, actually relevant to me at a time when I’m actually able to watch it. It would be interesting to figure out what I watch most online, but I’m certain the TED Talks would be up there, along with MotoGP, and various racing and FPS game videos, for example. And then a selection of robots, 3D Printing, Extreme Sports, Vintage Rallycross, and a mix of music videos.

But I’m never actively seeking out the news anymore. I’m letting it come to me via social networks and social sharing sites, and it essentially filters into:

  • stuff that people in my local area are talking about and bringing to my attention.
  • stuff that people in my areas of interest are talking about, and that I’m actively interested in – so technology,privacy,hacking, etc.
  • stuff that’s so big it makes an impact across everything – earthquakes, riots, tsunamis, overthrowing governments.

But a lot of this passes through RSS feeds and Twitter so quickly, that I’m only looking at stuff which matters to me in some way, and I wonder whether that’s actually making me a happier person. I still worry that politicians are all corrupt, corporations are inherently evil, the economic downturn means everyone will be poor for 50 years unless they’re rich enough not to worry, and crime may or may not be on the increase (although in the reality most people exist in, it’s whether crime is actually likely to personally affect us).

But I’m spending less time reading about all of it, and more time actually figuring out how I might be able to do something about the parts which are more important to me – for instance, looking at what the likes of the EFF and Open Rights Group are doing with regards to privacy.

Wait, wasn’t this about skateboarding dogs?

Maybe skateboarding dogs have actually have 3 noble purposes in our lives:

  • When we watch them, we feel more releaxed and our stress decreases.
  • Because we enjoy watching them (and then sharing links with friends), they made sites like Youtube extremely popular extremely quickly, and far more popular than the corresponding broadcast channels, because there’s no barrier to anyone uploading a video of a skateboarding dog they may have spotted.
  • And the huge popularity of video on-demand sites has enabled them to reach scale, even if there have been concerns they aren’t making enough money. That scale gives them some elements of power in terms of advertising and revenue, and that means their survival is continued, allowing millions to upload more content that Hollywood could ever produce (for example), and a breadth of content which ranges from babies laughing to lectures on quantum physics and everything in between. Projects like the Khan Academy, for example, which allows anyone with access to the internet the ability to learn via video tuition.

So the next time you’re laughing at a talented hound riding a skateboard, it’s worth remembering that they’re also serving a noble purpose in better the world…

Doctorow video on copyright and piracy – must watch

Nice video of Cory Doctorow posted by the Guardian, and popping up in my RSS feeds thanks to The Pirates Dilemma.

The timing is particularly nice considering part of the video covers Hollywood and Youtube – and the latter has announced Creative Commons licences will now be part of the service when you upload or want to find content to mashup. It’s brilliant news, and the only question I have is why it took so long to happen?

I probably haven’t spent enough time educating enough of my clients about the benefits of utilising Creative Commons – a good reminder to start doing that right now.

Celebrating the most important marriage of the week…

And no, it’s not the royal wedding. As much as I hope Kate and William have a long and happy life together, they’re not friends or acquintances, and as part of a consititutional monarchy, they’re unlikely to have any effect on my life. I’m celebrating the marriage of Delicious, the incredibly useful and powerful social bookmarking service which was neglected since acquisition by Yahoo, with new owners AVOS, which despite sounding like a major shopping website, is actually the new company from Youtube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.

I’ve written in the past about Delicious alternatives, and how I ended up moving from using Delicious as my primary bookmarking tool to using Diigo with Delicious as a backup. But this could change things.

  • Hurley and Chen have a lot of experience in social information sharing – that’s essentially what Youtube is. Upload your video data and use some quick and simple social tools to hopefully get a response.
  • Delicious may have stagnated but there’s a huge amount of data there, just waiting to be utilised more effectively.
  • The AVOS press release regarding the acquisition references making it ‘easier and more fun to save, share and discover‘, plus ‘The YouTube founders plan to work closely with the community over the next few months to develop innovative features to help solve the problem of information overload‘. Two of those issues have been key to Delicious, and the third is something which is become an increasingly timely problem.

And lastly, I have a bit of a hypothesis that this may be a project that Hurley and Chen will look to build longterm rather than setting up for an acquisition in 18 months as happened with Youtube. Firstly, Delicious has been on the block for a while, and social bookmarking tools aren’t exactly hot commodities. Secondly, this isn’t their hope to make enough cash to live on for the rest of their lives – they’ve been there and done that. Much like Kevin Rose and Ev Williams are ‘pivoting’ what they are working on, or Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, is returning to Reddit as an advisor, I suspect Delicious could be something that Hurley and Chen cared enough about to acquire and set-up as something they hold onto – if not, why spend the money on acquiring an existing community when their names and expertise could probably build up something from scratch to the same level pretty fast with no acquisition cost?

That last paragraph is all optimism and speculation, but one thing I do know is that we’re sure to see some positive changes to Delicious, and it’s now being run by people who really know the power of data, social and sharing.

The importance of beating your own drum…

There are certain people I follow on social networks who tend to share things outside of the normal technology, social media, marketing echo chamber, and one of them is Stuart Witts, who’s as likely distribute bizarre Lego creations as digital insight. He recently shared the following video, which sparked some thoughts…

Firstly, that video has been watched almost 10 million times since June 2010 as I write this. 32,000+ people have left comments and 64,000+ people have liked it – and it’s been featured on sites such as the blog of Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.

So whether or not you think the drummer is talented, funny, or making a fool of himself, it’s proved popular. And you’ll certainly remember him far more than the rest of the band…

Right about now, I’m guessing a fair number of you are thinking about this from a marketing or advertising perspective and wondering ‘How could we do something like that and go viral?’

That’s not the point!!!

Don’t get inspired by that video.

The inspiration comes from the approach of the drummer. He probably didn’t start playing drums with the dream of wearing a gold suit jacket and playing in a cover band. It’s also pretty unlikely that anyone taught him to drum the way he does in the video. And most importantly, he’s not doing it at the expense of the song – he’s hitting all the right beats, and providing the right backing for what is meant to be the chance for the guitarist to shine.

But he’s doing it in his own way, and that’s what makes him worthy of conversation and sharing.

Now picture your industry, content, and marketing:

If those band members were representating your business competitors and their marketing strategies, one brand may have secured the traditionally starring role of the singer/guitarist.

And the rest are probably much like the bass player in the video. Doing the basics, fitting into the perceived look and feel of their industry and peers. Occasionally giving a little flourish, but generally plodding along.

Neither is particular memorable.

But certain brands are able to use their passion, belief and drive to stand out far more than anyone thought possible by doing things in their own way. And that’s what makes a brand memorable, allows people to share it without shame, and encourages people to interact and purchase from it.

But what if they don’t like us?

Now, you may think that the drummer looks like an idiot, and I’m mad to suggest your brand should be twirling drumsticks when it could be providing a nice safe steady beat. Like any £100 drum machine could do.

But that assumes that bland tolerability drives purchases and sharability more than actively loving or hating something.

Far better to have a growing army of people who love what you do, and will passionately hoover up everything you can offer.

Being actively disliked by a large number of people hasn’t stopped the Daily Mail from being the second most popular newspaper website in the world, as sad as that makes me. And it’s built a large number of people who not only like what it does, but pay money to it for that product.

Being actively disliked by some people means that they might be driven enough to explain why they don’t like you, which lets you decide whether to do something about it. And just by responding to them, you can increase your business.

If you don’t run the risk of some people disliking what you’re doing, you’ll never run the risk of being able to be loved by people who are willing to part with their scarce attention and money.

Here’s to the mad drummers.


Open chance to talk at TED

This is rather cool. If you’ve never sampled the TED talks, I’d recommend having a look, as they definitely live up to the motto of ‘Ideas worth sharing’ on a huge range of topics, including creativity and marketing. And now there’s the chance for anyone to audition their own idea for a TED talk by April 25th.

There’s more details on the TED blog, but basically you upload a one minute video to Youtube or Vimeo, and then enter via an online form. And if you’re a finalist and can make your own way to New York you’ll be in the first ever public audition to either end up on the TED website, or appear at TED2012.

There’s not a long time before April 25th, but the one minute video is meant to be all about the idea and a sample rather than the finished product – and I’d imagine the typical person submitting will have already been thinking about the idea they think is worth sharing for a while now, but this gives them a chance to get it out there.


So have you launched a new project yet?

A reasonable amount of people apparently saw my post yesterday on how little it costs to launch a new media brand or project online.

So if you were one of those people – have you launched something yet? Plan to? Started thinking about it?

If you weren’t one of those people – go have a look, as it might prompt you to do something. Even if you’re one of the many digitally aware people who realise how quickly and easily you can produce content online, maybe it might spur you to actually go and do something with that knowledge.

And what better time to start than now? It’s Friday in the UK, and you’ve got a whole weekend ahead of you to get something done. Don’t fancy writing? Why not record some audio? Or some video?

I’d love it if just one person reading happens to be inspired to go and produce one thing this weekend – so let me know if you do…

And in return, I’m going to be finding ways to get more productive on my own sites, so I’ll be able to share some more tips and the results shortly…